Today, the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA) published a statement in response to the substantial increase of energy prices in Europe in recent months. In their statement, the Advisors point out that accelerating the transition towards a low-carbon energy system is a solution that can lower energy prices in the long term.
The Advisors stress the need to achieve a fair and effective clean energy transition to mitigate the climate crisis, while protecting those who are in danger of suffering from energy poverty. To achieve this, Europe must put people at the centre of energy policy and rally the whole of society behind this common goal. Reacting to high energy prices plays a pivotal role and should involve immediate support for households at risk of energy poverty along with investments to increase the share of low-carbon energy production in the long term.
Professor Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and lead Advisor for the Statement:
As high energy prices threaten millions of Europeans at risk of energy poverty, achieving a high share of affordable, sustainable and renewable energy is more important and urgent than ever. This must be done with a people-centric approach, not leaving anyone behind.
The statement was prepared following a request from the Commission’s Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight Maroš Šefčovič. It resonates with the recent Commission Communication on energy prices published on 13 October, which includes a “toolbox” that the EU and its Member States can use to address the immediate impact of current prices increases, and further strengthen resilience against future shocks. In particular, the Advisors support the proposal to invest carbon-pricing revenue in addressing energy poverty, spurring innovation, and creating employment.
The Statement is based on the Advisors’ June 2021 Scientific Opinion A Systemic Approach to the Energy Transition in Europe, and informed by the Evidence Review Report by the Horizon 2020-funded SAPEA (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies) consortium of European academies, which forms part of the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism.
Since its establishment in 2016, the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors provides the College of Commissioners with independent, high quality scientific advice that has informed policy making on more than a dozen topics. The Chief Scientific Advisors are seven eminent scientists appointed in their personal capacity, who act independently and in the public interest. Information on their work and its impact can be found in the ‘Report on the work of Group of Chief Scientific Advisors 2015-2019’.
The work of the Advisors contributes to informing Commission policies in the framework of the European Green Deal, an action plan to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Europe by 2050 and to make European economies sustainable. Previous work on environmental and sustainability themes includes their Scientific Opinions on Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment (December 2020), sustainable food systems (March 2020), “Adaptation to health effects of climate change in Europe” (June 2020), “Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologies” (May 2018) and vehicle CO2 emissions (November 2016).
For their work, the Advisors are supported by Evidence Reviews carried out by the SAPEA consortium (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies), a Horizon 2020-grant bringing together outstanding expertise from natural, applied, and social sciences and humanities, from over a hundred academies, young academies and learned societies in more than 40 countries across Europe. Collectively, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, SAPEA, and European Commission support staff are referred to as the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM).
20 October 2021